Report: Representative Rodger Reedy, 57th District


Another busy week is in the books here at the Missouri State Capitol. House Committees are hard at work hearing and voting on legislation to send to the floor so that we as a body can begin debating it on the House Floor. My House Committee, Rural Community Development, met for the first time this session on Monday where we heard two bills, HB. 2069, which deals with state funds for regional planning commissions, and HB. 2170, which deals with rural economic development. We will continue to hold hearings as bills are sent to us for consideration.

The other committees I sit on remain hard at work as well considering other legislation. The House Elections and Elected Officials Committee has been hearing many of the bills in the House related to IP Reform in Missouri. The House Local Government Committee has heard a number of bills relating to transient guest taxes as well as bills concerning solid waste processing facility permits. The House Insurance Policy meets regularly to consider all manner of legislation related to insurance matters. My newest committee appointment, the House Special Committee on Property Tax Reform has hit the ground running since its formation.

This large committee rivals the House Budget Committee – 32 Representatives ready to consider legislation to help Missourians find relief with the recent increases in property taxes.

Below, you can find some notable news from the Capitol this week.

Mourning the Loss of Jean Carnahan

It is with heavy hearts that we mourn the passing of former U.S. Senator Jean Carnahan, who passed away at the age of 90 following a brief illness. Members of the House observed a moment of silence to honor the life and memory of the first female U.S. senator from Missouri on Wednesday, January 31st.

Carnahan, a Democrat, was appointed to the Senate after her husband, Gov. Mel Carnahan, posthumously won election to the Senate after he was killed in a plane crash 22 days before the 2000 election. Carnahan served until November 2002, losing a special election to Republican Jim Talent. Before her Senate tenure, she was the first lady of Missouri, advocating for issues like on-site day care, domestic abuse shelters, and support for seniors and working families. Carnahan, who assumed office after her husband's death in a plane crash, focused on education, national security, and military conditions during her Senate term, actively participating in the first Congressional delegation to Afghanistan after 9/11. Despite her unconventional entry into the Senate, she always emphasized a commitment to the nation's work and her passion for serving the state of Missouri.

Improving Rural Economic Development

The House Committee on Rural Community Development recently considered two bills aimed at enhancing rural economic development in Missouri. This endeavor is vital for rejuvenating and sustaining rural communities, tackling demographic challenges, fostering job creation, diversifying the economy, and enhancing overall quality of life.

HB 2170 introduces the "Missouri Rural Access to Capital Act," promoting economic development by offering tax credits to investors making capital investments in rural funds. The credits start at zero percent for the first two years and rise to 15% for the subsequent four years, with an annual cap of $16 million. Rural funds must undergo an approval process, adhere to investment criteria, and could face credit recapture for non-compliance. Eligible businesses must meet specific criteria, and rural funds are required to submit annual reports. The program sunsets on August 28, 2030.

Meanwhile, HB 2069 adjusts state funding for regional planning commissions, doubling the maximum funds for the East-West Gateway Coordinating Council and increasing the Mid-America Regional Council's limit. The bill also updates the list of planning commissions and adjusts maximum grants for all commissions with the consumer price index from July 1, 2026.

Legislative initiatives, such as these bills, aim to offer targeted support and resources to address the unique challenges faced by rural areas.

Elections Committee Hears More Initiative Petition Proposals

The House Committee on Elections and Elected Officials in Missouri, one week after hearing proposed changes to citizen-led initiative petitions, recently discussed three more bills aiming to modify the process of adopting Constitutional amendments. These bills seek to raise the standards for majority votes, requiring approval in both legislative districts and statewide votes, while one bill proposes increasing the threshold from a simple majority. The goal is to improve the process of citizen-initiated ballot measures by increasing transparency, improving accountability, creating stricter deadlines and rules to ensure verified, legal signatures, and curb outside influence from special interest groups.

HJR 86: Requires any measure referred to the people to get a majority of votes statewide and in most state Senate districts upon voter approval. This aligns with

HCS HJR 19 (2023), emphasizing the need for broader geographic support.

HJR 76: Upon voter approval, demands that any constitutional amendment secure a majority of votes both statewide and in most state congressional districts. It specifies that only U.S. citizens who are legal residents of Missouri can vote on these changes, highlighting the importance of both geography and citizenship.

HJR 119: Introduces significant changes, raising the passage threshold for Constitutional amendments from a simple majority to 55 percent of votes cast. It allows voters in each Congressional district to review and comment on initiative petitions in a process administered by the Secretary of State. Moreover, it specifies that only U.S. citizens who are residents of Missouri and registered to vote can be considered legal voters.

Open Enrollment Legislation First Out of the Gate for the House

The Missouri House has prioritized school choice and open enrollment this year, passing the first bill, HB 1989, immediately following National School Choice Week. This legislative measure, which has passed out of the House for the past three years, emphasizes the desire to offer Missourians educational options and empower families in deciding the best quality education for their children.

HB 1989 would allow K-12 public schools to decide whether students from neighboring districts can enroll in their schools. Dubbed the Public School Open Enrollment Act, the bill aims to improve educational quality, boost parental involvement, expand access to programs and classes, and align curriculum options with personal beliefs. The legislation placed a three percent cap on the number of students who can leave a district annually under open enrollment. Districts are not required to add staff or programs, such as special education, for the program. Currently, 43 states have some form of open enrollment.

The legislation also establishes the Parent Public School Choice Fund, with an additional $80 million appropriation, to support transportation and special needs education for qualifying students. Transportation would be the parents’ responsibility, unless the child qualifies for free or reduced lunch or has transportation under an individualized education plan. The bill calls for a fund to pay for bussing these students.

The bill sponsor stressed that the district has the option to opt in to the open enrollment program, and stated that the state money follows the bill, while the local money stays in the local district. Ultimately, the decision-making process stays in the hands of the receiving district.

“This bill allows the 899,000 students in the state of Missouri in the public school system the opportunity to have choice within the very system that their parents pay taxes to,” the bill sponsor told his fellow members. “Some opponents say this forces districts to compete with each other, but we build on competition. This puts it in the hands of the local taxpayers, who have a student in a local district, and gives them the ability to shape the future of that district. This bill keeps public school students in the public school system.”

The bill was passed out of the House on Wednesday with a vote of 86-73, and now heads to the Senate for consideration.

As usual, my legislative assistant Blake is available Monday through Thursdays from 8:30 – 5:00 and from 8:30 – Noon on Fridays. You can contact my office by calling 573-751-3971 or emailing If you would like a courtesy resolution from the House of Representatives please contact my office. As always, it is an honor and privilege to serve the citizens of District 57.